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Sex change causes controversy for divorcing couple

The topic of same-sex marriage has been a popular discussion piece in the U.S. for some time now. Many states support same-sex unions, while others have outright bans against gays and lesbians getting married. Though the issue at hand is often how a person views marriage, the fact remains that many of these people have children. When divorce comes for these marriages, a custody agreement must be reached for any kids who are involved in the relationship.

A case in another state may be important to watch for some couples in Ohio. According to reports, it involves a man who was born a woman and his wife. The man underwent a sex-change surgery to become physically male but decided to keep his female reproductive organs. With the assistance of a sperm donor, this allowed him to give birth to the couple's three children.

Now, after nine years of marriage, the couple wants a divorce. On the surface, this relationship looks like a typical heterosexual marriage and that is how the couple wants it treated, but the presiding judge is unsure if this divorce case should be considered a split between a heterosexual or a homosexual couple. If the judge decides that the divorce will end a same-sex marriage, he may not be allowed to act and may even be forced to dissolve the marriage. This is because same-sex marriage is banned in the state the estranged couple lives in.

Like Ohio, the state the estranged couple lives in does not acknowledge same-sex marriages that occurred in other states. No court in the state can validate a same-sex union, which has aggravated gay rights advocates. Still, there are three children involved in the relationship that will need to be cared for. Should the judge deem the marriage invalid, one of the parents who raised the children may end up losing custody.

Source: Casa Grande Dispatch, "Divorce case confused," Jan. 1, 2013

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